Dave Johnson: New England Spoils Olsen's Debut

Dave Johnson: New England Spoils Olsen's Debut
August 8, 2010, 1:43 am
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Saturday, August 7, 2010 9:35 PM

By Dave Johnson
CSNwashington.comFoxboro, Mass-----So much for the dream start. In Ben Olsens first game as interim head coach of DC United, the Black and Red tried to play attractive soccer and produced more opportunities only to pay for one defensive lapse in a 1-0 loss to the New England Revolution.In the 42nd minute Pat Phelan was able to break free and head home a Chris Tierney free kick for his first goal of the season. Tierneys free kicks produced the Revolutions most dangerous chances as the home team struggled to develop anything in the run of play.To Uniteds credit the teams spirit was not broken after conceding Phelans goal so late in the first half and after having the better of the play in the opening 45 minutes. Instead United played with renewed commitment in the second half.As the second half inched along there was a real sense that United was about to equalize. The Revolution went 36 minutes into the second half before even getting a shot off. Uniteds front five of Santino Quaranta, Branko Boskovic, Chris Pontius, Pablo Hernandez and Andy Najar were able to connect through midfield but not finish in the final third.In the 55th minute Hernandez back-heeled a pass to Pontius who then touched it to Boskovic at the top of the box. Boskovic then slotted a ball to Hernandez on the run but he struggled to get off a shot that was then easily blocked by Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis 12 yards from goal.United was most dangerous from the left side with outside back Marc Burch picking his spots to go forward. On one of Burchs ventures up the flank he was able to deliver a perfect cross to the six yard box but Pontius ran past it and could not get off a shot.In the 72nd minute Stephen King, who replaced the injured Clyde Simms as holding midfielder, sent a shot from the top of the box just to the right goal after he was set up beautifully by a Quaranta cross.With Boskovic, just acquired last month, not fully match fit, forward Adam Cristman was brought on his replacement in the 69th minute. Cristman almost was the hero in the 79th minute when he was left unmarked on a Hernandez corner kick.Cristman was able to get up for a header but his effort went down and ricocheted off the ground and over the crossbar. Uniteds inability to finish extended their winless streak to seven games, while the Revolution, a team also saddled with injuries, is now unbeaten in seven games in all competitions.Olsen now must find answers to questions that plagued his predecessor Curt Onalfo. It does not seem to be a question of commitment by the players but a question of quality when it counts the most---in front of goal